I took my boys for their much overdue annual check-ups today. As is the case with most doctor appointments, we found ourselves seated in the waiting area for a good 15 minutes before the nurse called their names.
What do you do with two rambunctious, energetic boys in a waiting room?
Well, let’s see. We played “sticks,” a math game using our fingers, and then played One-Potato-Two-Potato with our feet. After that, Eli dared Noah to stand in the middle of the waiting room and dance in front of everyone. Noah is not one to turn down a dare, so up he went, shaking his bootie for all the world to see. Giggles abounded, and a second dare was quickly issued. Before long, the nurses were peaking around the appointment desk, offering suggestions on different dance moves and clapping along to his songs. We were having so much fun, we almost forgot we were waiting!
Looking back, I feel like I have spent much of my life waiting.
In middle school and high school, I was waiting to be popular (ugh) or waiting for a certain boy to like me (double ugh). Then I was waiting for the Lord to show me which college to go to and what my major should be. There were several years of waiting on the Lord about my future husband- was there someone out there for me? How would I know when I found him? Was this the one for me, or was there someone else?
“Wait on the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait on the Lord.” Ps. 27:14
So much waiting…
After I married Jeff, we waited on the Lord to direct our path. We waited on Him to show us where to start a church, and then we waited on Him to bring people to our church. And that whole time we were waiting for Him to give us a baby (you can read that story here).
Once those prayers were answered, there were other things to wait on.
We waited on the Lord to show us the right time to move on and where to go next. We waited on friendships and guidance and more babies. We waited on answers about our calling and the best way to school our children. We waited for the Lord to give us a church home, and spent three years doing family church before He gave us an answer. We waited for ministry opportunities. We waited for the right time to get a new puppy. We waited for wisdom in parenting and wisdom in our marriage and wisdom for life.
We have waited and waited and waited.
But we have also lived.
Yes, the waiting often overwhelmed me to where I couldn’t think about much else. But if the waiting lasted long enough, living was inevitable. I had to do something- I couldn’t just sit around and wait.
Somewhere along the way, I learned that waiting is more than just sitting.
It is an active verb, not passive.
It was friends living life with me and helping shape my character so I was ready when I found “the One.”
It was story after story of God’s faithfulness in our family and in our church, things only He could do, drawing our hearts to Him, even as we waited.
It is Noah dancing in the waiting room, making the most of the “in between” time.
Do I dance in the in between?
Waiting shouldn’t be about focusing so much on what I’m waiting for that I miss what is all around me. No, the Psalmist encourages us to “Wait on the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait on the Lord.”
God is at work all around us! When I fix my eyes on Jesus instead of whatever I’m waiting on, my perspective shifts.
When I remind myself of His truths, I am able to release my fear and embrace His peace. Don’t get me wrong; waiting on the Lord is still terribly hard, but it is no longer overwhelming or isolating or paralyzing.
It transforms waiting into something different.
It is breathing.
It is looking outside of my situation.
It is pressing into Jesus and doing the next thing.
It is embracing the present because I trust Him in the waiting.
Will we trust Him in the waiting? Will we look for Him in the “in between”? Will we miss the gifts He offers because they are not the ones we are waiting for? Or will we get up out of our chairs, fix our eyes on Jesus, and find a way to dance as we wait on the Lord?
Lord, I trust You in my waiting. Help me dance in the in between.
Jeff Allinder says
Boy, do I know about waiting. After 8 years with a past employer, I got news that the company was being sold, and it was obvious that I would no longer be employed. That led to 18 months of waiting and looking for a new job. I found that job, but it was obvious very quickly that job wasn’t going to be tenable in the long term. The next job also came quickly, but only a few months in, it became obvious that job was also had a short expiration date. Current job is a 12 month contract, and my family has been forced to move three times in the past three years. As the sole financial provider for my family, this has caused a great deal of anxiety and not nearly enough dancing.
This move, we spent some money decorating our new house, even if we live in it less than a year. We’ve forced ourselves to engage in friendships and a church home even though my wife and I both struggle mightily to do it. We pray for stability for our two middle schoolers, and I long for even an OK job that would allow them to finish high school in one place. We have prayed hard and encouraged each other to “dance” this time.
And now, unfortunately, God has shown us in all too real terms why that’s so important. We have learned just in the past month that we have two friends that are terminally ill. Both younger than me, both with children younger than ours. They’re in the last days with their husbands, kids, family and friends. I pray that everyone reading your blog and my response is encouraged to pray and dance while you feel like you’re waiting. God does amazing things, often when you least expect it.